Nov 20, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers quarterback Max Johnson (14) passes the ball against Louisiana Monroe Warhawks during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU QB Max Johnson to enter transfer portal

In addition to its new coach, LSU apparently will have a new quarterback when next season begins.

Tigers quarterback Max Johnson announced his plans to enter the transfer portal Tuesday. Joining the sophomore signal-caller in moving on from a commitment to LSU will be his younger brother Jake Johnson, the top-ranked tight end in the Class of 2022.

Tuesday’s news is a gut punch for Brian Kelly, who recently agreed to a 10-year, $95 million deal to become the Tigers’ next head coach.

Max Johnson threw for 2,815 yards, 27 touchdowns and six interceptions this season, helping LSU to a 6-6 record and a berth in the Texas Bowl against Kansas State on Jan. 4.

He tweeted Tuesday: “LSU, Thank you for allowing me to pursue my academic and athletic career here. I have made strong relationships that will last a lifetime with coaches, staff and especially my teammates! With careful and prayerful consideration, I am entering the transfer portal.”

Jake Johnson, a four-star recruit, announced Tuesday that he will reopen his recruitment, tweeting: “With much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I am de-committing from LSU. I am opening up my recruitment! I plan on early enrollment”

Max and Jake are the sons of former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson, a Super Bowl winner with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2002 season.

Freshman quarterback Garrett Nussmeier likely will start for LSU in the Texas Bowl against Kansas State, though he would have to burn his redshirt season in order to take the field against the Wildcats. Nussmeier has seen action in four games this year, throwing for 329 yards with two TDs and two INTs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2021; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly enters Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

LSU names Brian Kelly as head coach with 10-year deal

LSU and Brian Kelly made their partnership official with a 10-year deal worth $95 million plus incentives, the Tigers announced Tuesday.

The former Notre Dame coach will be introduced at a press conference at noon local time Wednesday.

“I could not be more excited to join a program with the commitment to excellence, rich traditions, and unrivaled pride and passion of LSU Football,” Kelly said in a release. “I am fully committed to recruiting, developing, and graduating elite student-athletes, winning championships, and working together with our administration to make Louisiana proud. Our potential is unlimited, and I cannot wait to call Baton Rouge home.”

Kelly, 60, became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history earlier this season, passing Knute Rockne, and won 113 of 153 games in 12 years at Notre Dame after previously coaching Central Michigan and Cincinnati. He took the Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoff twice.

Kelly’s official record at Notre Dame is 92-39 due to wins vacated because of NCAA sanctions. He went 19-16 at Central Michigan and 34-6 at Cincinnati.

“Brian Kelly is the epitome of a winner,” LSU director of athletics Scott Woodward said in the release. “He has built and sustained success at every program he’s led, from multiple undefeated regular seasons and National Coach of the Year honors to national titles and College Football Playoff berths. His credentials and consistency speak for themselves.”

Kelly replaces Ed Orgeron, who led LSU to a national title two years ago. LSU and Orgeron agreed in October that they would part ways after the season. The Tigers finished the regular season 6-6, including an upset of then-No. 15 Texas A&M, to become bowl-eligible.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly walks off the field after the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Brian Kelly leaves Notre Dame for LSU job

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is leaving the Fighting Irish to accept the same job at LSU, multiple media outlets reported Monday night.

Kelly, 60, became the winningest coach in Notre Dame history earlier this season, passing Knute Rockne, and won 113 of 153 games in 12 years at Notre Dame after previously coaching Central Michigan and Cincinnati. He took the Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoff twice.

Kelly’s official record at Notre Dame is 92-39 due to wins vacated because of NCAA sanctions.

In the latest surprise of the college football coaching carousel, he heads to a Southeastern Conference program not two years removed from winning a national championship under coach Ed Orgeron.

LSU and Orgeron agreed in October that they would part ways after the season. The Tigers finished the regular season 6-6, including an upset of then-No. 15 Texas A&M, to become bowl-eligible.

Notre Dame finished its season 11-1 and is not yet out of the running for a College Football Playoff berth.

Reports said an agreement between Kelly and LSU is likely to be finalized in the next 24 hours, and Kelly had not communicated his plans to his assistant coaches in South Bend, Ind., when the news broke.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly stands on the sidelines against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: LSU making ‘aggressive’ push for Brian Kelly

LSU has set its sights on Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly in its coaching search, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

The Athletic termed it “an aggressive push” on LSU’s part to hire Kelly, while Sports Illustrated reported that interest on Kelly’s part has yet to be confirmed.

Ever since LSU made the decision to part ways with Ed Orgeron Oct. 17, speculation had mounted that the Tigers would seek a high-profile replacement.

That had been athletic director Scott Woodward’s operating procedure at previous stops at Washington (Chris Petersen) and Texas A&M (Jimbo Fisher). More recently, Woodward pried national championship-winning women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey away from Baylor to assume the same post at LSU.

And Woodward hasn’t shied away from making public the lesson learned from the Peterson experience.

As Sports Illustrated detailed in a 2018 profile, “Don’t assume any coach is off the table.”

Kelly is Notre Dame’s all-time winningest coach and has led the Fighting Irish to a pair of College Football Playoff appearances among five straight double-digit winning seasons.

The Notre Dame coach has 263 career wins, third-most among FBS head coaches, with a record of 113-40 with the Fighting Irish.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers running back Tyrion Davis-Price (3) runs the ball against Texas A&M Aggies linebacker Andre White Jr. (32) during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU scores in final minute to top No. 15 Texas A&M

Max Johnson threw his third touchdown pass with 20 seconds left in the game as LSU upset No. 15 Texas A&M 27-24 in an SEC game Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La.

Johnson completed 22 of 38 passes for 306 yards, including the 28-yard game-winner to Jaray Jenkins, who finished with eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns.

LSU (6-6, 3-5) reached bowl eligibility, meaning head coach Ed Orgeron, who was bought out by the university last month effective at the end of the season, could see his tenure with the Tigers extended one more game.

Zach Calzada completed 20 of 34 for 242 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Jalen Preston, to lead the Aggies (8-4, 4-4).

LSU got off to a fast start, led 17-7 at the half, and didn’t trail until midway through the fourth quarter.

Seth Small kicked a 33-yard field as the Aggies trimmed the deficit to 17-10 midway through the third quarter.

Cade York answered with a 47-yard field goal nearly six minutes later to increase the lead to 20-10, which is where the score stood heading into the fourth quarter.

On the second play of the fourth quarter, Calzada threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Preston to pull Texas A&M within 20-17.

Calzada and Preston then teamed on a 32-yard touchdown pass that gave the Aggies their only lead of the game, 24-20, with 7:33 remaining.

Johnson then drove the Tigers 85 yards in nine plays over 1:38 for the winning points.

On the first possession of the game LSU moved 44 yards on 13 plays and settled for a 50-yard field goal by York.

Texas A&M gained just 21 yards in the first quarter and the 3-0 lead held up through the end of the period.

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Johnson threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jenkins for a 10-0 lead.

Calzada threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Moose Muhammad III to cut the lead to 10-7 late in the second quarter.

Johnson threw a short pass that Trey Palmer turned into a 61-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left in the second, giving the Tigers a 17-7 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on against Louisiana Monroe Warhawks during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Orgeron will coach final home game with LSU vs. No. 15 Texas A&M

Ed Orgeron’s last home game as LSU’s head coach will be against No. 15 Texas A&M on Saturday.

It also will be his final game overall unless the Tigers (5-6, 2-5 SEC) win and receive a bowl bid.

“I don’t think it’s going to hit me until the end, and I really don’t think that way,” Orgeron said. “But I am appreciative of the time I had here — a lot of great days.”

Orgeron, a Louisiana native who dreamed as a younger coach of eventually leading LSU’s program, is just two years removed from winning a national championship. But the Tigers are 10-11 in the last two seasons and the university negotiated his departure last month, effective at the end of the season.

“I’m so excited about this game,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to be pumped up and we’re going to be ready to go.”

Although a spotlight will be on Orgeron for his final home game, it’s also the final home game for 19 seniors who are completing their careers in a program that has seen numerous other players leave early for the NFL or enter the transfer portal.

“I want to send them out the right way,” Orgeron said. “I want them to play for them. I want them to win for the Tigers. I want them to win for themselves. This is about them.”

The Aggies (8-3, 4-3) are looking to improve their standing in the SEC West and their bowl destination by beating the Tigers.

“We need to continue to play well, keep achieving things we’ve got to play for as far as finishing this season out and having a great year,” Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said.

The highlight of the Aggies’ season was a victory against then-No. 1 Alabama, but they have losses against three other SEC West rivals — Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.

“You play in this league, you better match all the intensity,” Fisher said. “In this league you have to be up. You have to be ready not only to match intensity, but you’ve got to match execution. You’ve got to match physicality. You’ve got to match toughness, all those things.”

Fisher is a former LSU assistant and reportedly was a candidate for the job when Orgeron was hired full-time after the 2016 season, when Orgeron was interim head coach. Fisher’s name was linked again to the current search, though he made it clear last week that he plans on staying with the Aggies.

The coaching intrigue adds to a rivalry between LSU and Texas A&M that has grown in recent seasons.

“They’re important games because they’re SEC West games,” Fisher said. “All the West games, I call them double whammies because they are big games and they’re divisional games and they’re all rivalries to me.

“You’re so close in proximity, and we recruit Louisiana, they recruit Texas like everybody does, but they’re very close. And they’ve always had great success here. So I think that kind of makes it that way.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers wide receiver Jaray Jenkins (10) scores a touchdown that   s is called back due to a penalty when playing against Louisiana Monroe Warhawks during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU ends skid with 27-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe

Max Johnson threw two touchdown passes and ran for one as LSU held off Louisiana-Monroe 27-14 in a nonconference game Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La.

Johnson completed 22 of 33 passes for 319 yards as the Tigers (5-6) ended a three-game losing streak. Malik Nabers caught four of Johnson’s passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Brian Thomas Jr. caught the other touchdown pass and finished with 61 receiving yards.

Rhett Rodriguez completed 12 of 22 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown for the Warhawks (4-7), who won’t be bowl eligible but have improved significantly from their 0-10 record last season under first-year head coach Terry Bowden.

LSU had an opportunity to increase its 17-7 lead on the first possession of the third quarter, but Johnson threw an incompletion on fourth-and-3 from the ULM 14.

On the Tigers’ next possession, Johnson threw a 42-yard touchdown to Thomas to increase the lead to 24-7 at the end of the third quarter.

Quarterback Chandler Rogers threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Zach Rasmussen for the Warhawks before LSU’s Cade York kicked a 50-yard field goal to complete the scoring with 46 seconds remaining.

On LSU’s first possession, Johnson threw a 48-yard completion to Nabers, setting up Johnson’s three-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers drove 73 yards in 12 plays before stalling and York missed a 44-yard field-goal attempt, leaving the Tigers with a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Rodriguez was intercepted by Jay Ward at the ULM 28, leading to York’s 27-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Johnson and Nabers teamed on a 67-yard touchdown that increased the lead to 17-0.

LSU tried a fake punt from its 39 and Avery Atkins’ pass was intercepted by Josh Newton, who returned it to the Tigers’ 28.

Two plays later Rodriguez threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Boogie Knight to cut the lead to 17-7 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jameson Williams (1) runs the ball against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Alabama fends off huge underdog LSU, 20-14

Bryce Young threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 2 Alabama held off pesky four-touchdown-underdog LSU 20-14 in an SEC game Saturday night at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Crimson Tide (8-1, 5-1 SEC) failed to score after getting a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter, but stopped the Tigers (4-5, 2-4) three times in Alabama territory in the fourth quarter.

Max Johnson passed for just 160 yards, but had two touchdowns, and Ty Davis-Price rushed for 104 yards for LSU.

On the Tide’s second play of the third quarter, Young threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Jameson Williams to extend the Tide’s lead to 20-7.

The Tigers, playing without more than half a dozen injured starters and with a lame duck head coach in Ed Orgeron, converted two fourth-and-1 plays on their way to Johnson’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Jack Bech that cut the lead to 20-14 at the end of the third quarter.

LSU drove to the Tide 7 midway through the fourth quarter, but Johnson threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal.

Alabama gained three first downs and crossed midfield before Young was sacked and lost a fumble at the Tide 42.

But Alabama allowed just one yard in three plays and Johnson threw an incompletion when pressured on fourth down.

LSU, which held Alabama to six yards rushing, forced a punt and got the ball back at its 38 with 50 seconds left and drove to the Tide 30 before Johnson’s desperation pass was batted down in the end zone as time expired.

LSU kept its first possession alive by converting a fourth-and-2 on a fake punt near midfield. The drive ended with Johnson’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. that gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Tide finally scored when Brian Robinson ran two yards for a touchdown that evened the score at seven with 2:52 left in the half.

Young added an eight-yard touchdown pass to John Metchie III with 48 seconds left, giving Alabama a 14-7 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Myles Brennan (15) throws a pass against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

LSU QB Myles Brennan enters transfer portal

LSU quarterback Myles Brennan has entered the transfer portal.

Brennan has been beset by injuries since starting the first three games of the 2020 season. He sustained a torn abdominal muscle that ended his season and then broke his non-throwing arm this summer that required surgery.

Max Johnson, who replaced Brennan in 2020, has started all eight games for LSU this season.

Brennan is in his fifth year at LSU. He backed up Joe Burrow in 2019.

Brennan has 1,712 career passing yards with 13 touchdowns against six interceptions with the Tigers.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said Monday that Brennan was “teary-eyed” over the decision.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks up at the scoreboard during the first half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Orgeron: LSU too injured to hold full practice

LSU coach Ed Orgeron told reporters Wednesday that his team is dealing with so many injuries that it won’t be able to have a full practice this week, the Tigers’ bye week.

LSU is also canceling an annual open-date scrimmage called the Tiger Bowl, which was scheduled for Thursday.

“This week we’d usually go full pads today and tomorrow we’d have the Tiger Bowl but we don’t have enough players to do the Tiger Bowl scrimmage tomorrow,” Orgeron said Wednesday. “We don’t have enough players healthy enough to practice so you have to make adjustments.”

LSU (4-4, 2-3 SEC) and Orgeron agreed to part ways after the 2021 season. The decision was made less than two years after he led the Tigers to a national championship.

The injured players include cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., widely considered a top prospect in next year’s NFL draft. Stingley had a procedure for a left foot injury earlier this month. Offensive lineman Anthony Bradford was ruled out for the rest of the season this week.

–Field Level Media